A Fond Farewell to Summer
Summer is officially over, but this week’s balmy weather drew me to the watermelon samples at my local Farmers’ Market. I could do one better, I thought: watermelon ice pops. My husband agreed, and we carried a watermelon home.
Watermelons are believed to have originated in the tropics of southern Africa. While it was not known where they were first cultivated, numerous watermelon seeds were reportedly found in King Tut’s tomb. By the 10th century, watermelons were being cultivated in China. Watermelons are thought to have been introduced to the Americas in the 1600s, likely by African slaves. 1
Watermelon is a source of beta carotene and vitamin C. Those with red flesh are a source of lycopene. Watermelons have a high water content, lending themselves to blending easily and freezing into ice pops. They are also quite sweet, so the pops need no added sugar. In fact, I and others who have a penchant for sour candies, enjoy adding fresh squeezed lime juice to the pureed watermelon to balance its sweetness. The leftover watermelon purée makes a refreshing beverage on a hot day. 2
Even the rind can be enjoyed – cut the hard green skin off of the rinds, and use the crisp white flesh as you would cucumber or green papaya, in salads and fresh spring rolls, to make pickles, or simply to dip in Thai peanut sauce or your favorite dressing. In China, rinds are stir-fried with garlic and chilies, stewed, or pickled. Watermelon rind pickles are also enjoyed in the Southern US. 3
Watermelon Ice Pops
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6-12 pops
1 small seedless watermelon
optional: juice of 1-3 limes
Blender, preferably with wand
6-12 Ice pop molds
1. Remove watermelon rind, and cut watermelon flesh into cubes.
2. Spoon watermelon cubes into blender.
3. Blend watermelon until puréed.
4. Optional: Squeeze lime juice into puréed watermelon to taste.
5. Pour purée into ice pop molds.
6. Freeze overnight.
2. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ Search word: “watermelon”